FDH complains she was strip-searched at least seven times

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Eastern Magistrates' Courts in Sai Wan Ho

A Filipino domestic worker accused of theft by her employer has complained that she was strip-searched by the police at least seven times.

The defendant, with initials M. L., said the police conducted the strip-searches while she was in her employer’s home in Pok Fu Lam, at the Western Police Station, at the Wan Chai Police station, and again at the Western Police station, after she was arrested for theft in early January.

“The defendant was subjected to repeated body searches, including removing her clothes. With the number of searches… this was oppressive on her…to her humanity and dignity,” her lawyer said during a hearing at the Eastern Magistrates Courts on March 13.

The lawyer said that, during one search, a policeman entered the room while the Filipina was still only wearing her top and underwear. The prosecutor said he could confirm that the defendant underwent at least four body searches.

The domestic worker was arrested on January 2 after her employer claimed that she stole $500 and a lip balm.

She initially denied taking the money but, in her caution statement at the police station, which was taken after the strip searches, she allegedly admitted to taking the money after cleaning her employer’s room.

The defense is challenging the caution statement but the investigator and the two interpreters who were present when the statement was taken testified that the Filipina was not threatened, forced, or induced to admit to the alleged crime.

The trial will resume on April 20 after an ID parade for her to identify the police officers present during the strip-searches.

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